Contact Us

University of Illinois Extension serving Christian, Jersey, Macoupin and Montgomery Counties

Montgomery County
#1 Industrial Park Dr.
Hillsboro, IL 62049
Phone: 217-532-3941
FAX: 217-532-3944
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4:30 pm

Christian County
1120 N Webster St.
Taylorville, IL 62568
Phone: 217-287-7246
FAX: 217-287-7248
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 11:30 am; 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Jersey County
201 W. Exchange St.
Suite A
Jerseyville, IL 62052
Phone: 618-498-2913
FAX: 618-498-5913
Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4 pm and Thursday 8 am to 12 pm

Macoupin County
#60 Carlinville Plaza
Carlinville, IL 62626
Phone: 217-854-9604
FAX: 217-854-7804
Hours: Monday - Thursday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4:30 pm

News Release

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For the love of fats: Heart Health Month

Have you ever been told by a doctor you have high cholesterol? You are not alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes 73.5 million Americans suffer from high cholesterol. Having high cholesterol doubles the risk of heart disease. A healthy diet and regular exercise are the two best lifestyle weapons to fight back against heart disease, which is the number one killer in the United States.

What part of the diet affects cholesterol? Lisa Peterson, Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, explains, "Research shows trans fats and saturated fats can have a negative impact on blood cholesterol, but not all fats are harmful to health. The body needs fat for hormone production, absorbing nutrients, energy, keeping warm, and protecting organs." Poly- and monounsaturated fats help lower blood cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are found in plant-based sources and fish. Vegetable, canola, olive safflower, corn, and peanut oil are all sources of unsaturated fats. Nuts, seeds, avocadoes and dark chocolate also contain unsaturated fats.

Animal sources and dairy products contain saturated fat. Whole milk, cream, beef, pork, and chicken are all examples of saturated fats. Peterson adds that, "In most cases saturated fat, such as butter, is solid at room temperature with the exception of coconut and palm oil, which are both high in saturated fat. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature". Whether saturated or unsaturated, all fat contains the same 9 calories per gram. An excess amount of calories can lead to weight gain and obesity, another risk factor for heart disease.

"One simple suggestion for reducing saturated fat is sautéing vegetables in olive oil instead of butter," Peterson recommends. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines suggest limiting saturated fat to less than 10% of calories per day. Celebrate heart health month all through February and don't forget to wear red on Feb. 3rd for National Wear Red Day to bring awareness to heart disease in women.

For more information about living heart healthy contact Lisa Peterson 217-532-3941 or your local University of Illinois Extension office.

Creamy Chocolate Pudding Yield: 5-1/2 cup servings

2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
1 tablespoon instant coffee* optional
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 ½ tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup fat free milk


1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend well.

2. Move to a bowl and refrigerate at least a half hour before serving.

Nutrition analysis per serving w/ instant coffee: 220 calories, 3g. protein, 12 g total fat, (2 g Saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 30 g carbohydrates, 8 g dietary fiber, 10 mg sodium

Local Contact: Lisa Peterson, Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness,